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O'Reilly General Hospital

"Hospital with a Soul"

View an Evangel produced video about the hospital.

Historic Events

O’Reilly General Hospital was a U. S. Army temporary hospital which was located in Springfield, Missouri. It was in operation during World War II and in the immediate postwar period.

General Robert Maitland O'Reilly

O'Reilly Hospital was named for General Robert Maitland O'Reilly, U.S. Army. General O'Reilly was a hospital cadet in the Union Army during the Civil War, a field surgeon in the U.S. Army during the Indian campaigns and Spanish American War, and a researcher on tropical hygiene during the building of the Panama Canal. He was appointed Surgeon General of the Army in 1902 and served in this capacity until 1909.

Hospital slogan: “The Hospital With a Soul”
Hospital grounds: Approximately 155 acres, bounded by Glenstone Avenue, Pythian Street, Fremont Avenue, and Division Street.
Buildings: 248, all of wood barracks-type construction, except for one. It is described in the following paragraph.

The Enlisted Men’s Service Club, which was of Carthage stone, was situated on the southwest corner of the hospital grounds. This capacious three-story building had been built by the Knights of Pythias of Missouri as a home for orphans and widows of deceased members of the society. The building was dedicated on June 14, 1914 and served the organization as originally intended until 1942. It was then acquired by the U.S. Government and became part of O’Reilly Hospital. Commonly known as Pythian Castle, the building can be seen today at the corner of Fremont and Pythian.

Some time in the spring of 1941 a groundbreaking ceremony was held for O’Reilly Hospital. Dignitaries present included Mayor Harry B. Carr; Maj. Michael Grimaldi, constructing quartermaster; Fred McKinnell, project engineer; and Presiding Judge Frank Wheeler of the County Court. Jewell Windle and John T. Woodruff were the Chamber of Commerce representatives. About 50 children from Tefft School, across the street, were admitted. Since considerable earth had already been moved, the ceremony centered around a footing for one of the main buildings. Cement was poured inside the wooden form.

Timeline

  • 1946, December: O’Reilly Army Hospital closed.
  • 1947, February 10: O’Reilly Hospital reopened as O’Reilly Veterans Administration Hospital, with 500 beds. A year later the hospital had almost 400 patients in 20 wards, and 450 employees.
  • 1952, August 28: Last patient discharged or transferred out of O’Reilly VA Hospital.
  • 1952, December 2: O’Reilly Hospital declared excess property by U.S. Government.
  • 1954, December 14: Public announcement was made in the Springfield, MO Leader-Press, on page 1, that 58.51 acres of the O’Reilly property had been granted to the Assemblies of God at 100% discount, to be used as the campus of Evangel University.
  • 1955, May 15: It was announced in the Springfield News and Leader that the remaining 101.49 acres of O’Reilly property had been awarded to the following applicants: Springfield, MO Park Board, 13.5 acres; Civil Defense, 33 acres; U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps Reserve, 20 acres; National Guard, 14 acres; St. Agnes High School (now Catholic High School), 13.7 acres; and U.S. Medical Center, 2 acres.

O’Reilly Army Hospital was originally a 1,000-bed hospital. Its capacity was subsequently expanded until it reached its peak of nearly 6,000 patients in the spring of 1945. For several months an annex was established on the Southwest Missouri State College (now University) campus, where a reconditioning program for more than 500 patients, quartered in the field house, was followed.
A total of over 50,000 patients were treated at O’Reilly Army Hospital through August, 1946. Over 24,000 operations were performed, of which 7,620 were plastic surgery. Other operations included orthopedic; neurosurgery; eye, ear, nose and throat; urology; and maxillofacial.

Besides the surgical service, medical services at O’Reilly Army Hospital included general medicine, cardiology, gastro-intestinal, tropical diseases, dermatology, allergies, neurology, dental, and occupational therapy.

Over 16,000 Army enlisted personnel were trained as laboratory, X-ray, medical/surgical, and dental technicians in the technician school at O’Reilly.

Distinguished visitors at O’Reilly included Generals Omar Bradley and Jonathan Wainwright, the hero of Corregidor. Stars who performed for the patients and staff at O’Reilly included the Mills Brothers, Jeanette McDonald, Jane Wyman, Basil Rathbone, as well as Rin Tin Tin, the canine movie star; and band leaders Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton, and Jack Teagarden.

As of January 11, 1943 there were no less than 44 Army General Hospitals, including O’Reilly, in operation. This is not surprising when it is considered that there were nearly 566,000 U.S.Army wounded in World War II, not counting those who died of their wounds. The hospitals were as follows:

Army General Hospitals
Name Location
Army & Navy General Hospital Hot Springs National Park, AR
Ashburn General Hospital McKinney, TX
Ashford General Hospital White Sulphur Springs, WV
Barnes General Hospital Vancouver Barracks, WA
Baxter General Hospital Spokane, WA
William Beaumont General Hospital El Paso, TX
Billings General Hospital Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN
Brook General Hospital San Antonio, TX
Bruns General Hospital Santa Fe, NM
Borden General Hospital Chickasha, OK
Bushnell General Hospital Brigham City, UT
Charleston General Hospital Charleston, WV
Deshon General Hospital Butler, PA
Finney General Hospital Thomasville, GA
Fitzsimons General Hospital Denver, CO
Fletcher General Hospital Cambridge, OH
Foster General Hospital Jackson, MS
Hammond General Hospital Modesto, CA
Harmon General Hospital Longview, TX
Hoff General Hospital Santa Barbara, CA
Percy Jones General Hospital Battle Creek, MI
Kennedy General Hospital Memphis, TN
LaGarde General Hospital New Orleans, LA
Lawson General Hospital Atlanta, GA
Letterman General Hospital Presidio of San Francisco, CA
Lovell General Hospital Fort Devens, MA
McCaw General Hospital Walla Walla, WA
McCloskey General Hospital Temple, TX
Moore General Hospital Swannanoa, NC
Nichols General Hospital Louisville, KY
Oliver General Hospital Augusta, GA
O'Reilly General Hospital Springfield, MO
Walter Reed General Hospital Washington, DC
Rhoads General Hospital Utica, NY
Schick General Hospital Clinton, IA
Stark General Hospital Charleston, SC
Sternberg General Hospital Manila, PI
Tilton General Hospital Fort Dix, NJ
Torney General Hospital Palm Springs, CA
Tripler General Hospital Honolulu, HI
Valley Forge General Hospital Phoenixville, PA
Wakeman General Hospital Camp Atterbury, IN
Winter General Hospital Topeka, KS
Woodrow Wilson General Hospital Staunton, VA